AWI Voices With Impact presents: Mother Tongue

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his mother language that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

Language, the words we use, and the meanings we attach to them shape our worldviews. They influence our feelings, attitudes and beliefs. With immigration, the concept of a mother language is conceived. A mother tongue is not only a means of communication, but an entity that connects us to family, identity, and culture. It contains echoes of our childhood, and is the carrier of history, traditions, customs, folklore and wisdom from one generation to another. Differences in languages and cultures, and issues of stigma, racism and discrimination have a range of mental health implications on the ways that people view health, illness, and healing. In this session, filmmakers Ziyao Liu, Hao Zhou, and Adán Ávalos explore the intersection of language, identity, and mental health.

Watch the screen recording below, or download it here.

Featured National Resources:

Crisis Text Line
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Trans Lifeline
The Trevor Project
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)
Black Mental Health Alliance

Please visit this page for International Resources.


Date:June 23, 2021
Time:1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Workshop Evaluation

Click here to download a summary of the post-workshop evaluations.
“A door was opened on the conversation that looked at why we racialize, why we discriminate, why we are isolated, why we are homophobic, and why words always let us down. It revealed our personal narratives and words — words we routinely use and become deaf to — and how we can revitalize them in our conversations.” "
-Session Attendee


Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission The MHSOAC provides vision and leadership, in collaboration with clients, their family members, and underserved communities, to ensure Californians understand mental health is essential to overall health. MHSOAC holds public mental health systems accountable, provides oversight for eliminating disparities; promotes wellness, recovery and resiliency; and ensures positive outcomes for individuals living with serious mental illness and their families.